A Dive and a Mud Bath

Muddy Girls are fun Girls

We arrive at Tiga Island in the midst of a common seasonal Soutwester, a two day 20 knot blow is forecasted and the reality fits the forecast well. The best anchorage is on—of course—the Southwest side of the island. The swells are over a meter and just not a place to be so we duck behind the leeward side of the island and drop the hook in calmer seas albeit breezy. The shoal extends quite far on this side so are anchored off shore more than I like but it seems to work.

The new crew are all Advanced divers but some with limited real experience. You can, and I think should, take the PADI advanced course right after your open water course so an “advanced” diver can easily have under twenty dives. Paloma just received her dive master certificate so she is going to come in handy. We take the dinghy to a place I think might be an OK dive, right at the edge of the reef where a navigational buoy is located to tie to. As we learned before it is OK to tie to nav. buoys here and a common practice. This time the swells jerk the dingy severely as I wish I had used the new longer painter I brought from the states.

We all pile in the water, diving four in the dinghy is a challenge and tougher in rough water with new divers. Instantly upon dropping a few feet the rough surface conditions disappear and the warm calm water is welcome. Sadly the dive site is a zero, all just sandy. We do see a school of small fish hovering around the anchor line and one small ray dashes by. Unlike commercial dive boats we are often e surface. I have learned to read reefs and look for good sites on the charts but that is only a hint as to what we will find. Sometimes we hit it right and find new places others have not discovered but also we hit places of no interest. It is a bit of a gamble. This is also why I spend so much time interrogating local divers and dive guides to find the good spots.

We do accomplish the goal as we all get used to equipment, trim weights and get used to diving off the RIB. Back on the surface things have gotten worse, the dink is bouncing off the rough steel bouy and it is hard to untie the painter. As we finally leave for a great surfing ride back to Furthur I notice that Nadia is sitting on a rapidly deflating seat, we have a leak in the forward pontoon. 

The dinghy is one of the most vital and hard to replace things on any long range cruising boat. I instantly think of the horror and expense of replacing it. As is usually the case my imagination far exceeds the dilemma. I find the small hole and place a patch over it and to mygreat glee, it worked.

We end the day with Nadia and Shadi learning how to fill tanks with the Bauer dive compressor while Daphne prepares a scrumptious “poo poo platter” for us. really getting the hang of this time honored Furthur tradition and adds a fewnew bits to it.

Nadia is a physiotherapist by trade and my aches and pains are apparent to her. I have done something ghastly to my right shoulder, probably due to my over doing it when I finally got to a real weight room. She gives me a full blown session working with an air mattress instead of a proper table.

We bounce around a bit in the evening as the wind shifts and the swells sneak around the island but by the time we sleep it is calmer. We arise to sunshine and less wind and after all are up and fed we launch the, thank God, not leaking dinghy and head to the beach.

I was not sure how to find the baths from this side of the island but know all the trails are connected so we anchor the dink off a white sandy beach and find the trail.It is about 2 kilometers to the baths of easy hiking. I show the girls the best entrance and they are full of giggles and squeals as they flop into the buoyant mud. The density is so thick that it is impossible to sink and you can lay on your back a float comfortably.

We soak,flog and play for about an hour then head back to the beach. There are no facilities at the baths, just holes in the ground full of volcanic mud so we take the long walk back covered head to toe in clinging mud. The mud starts to dry as we walk giving us a sci fi look, Avatar and Night of the Living Dead come to mind. Back at the beach we allwash off, not easy as mud is everywhere and I mean everywhere.

Nadia takes the opportunity to get some exercise by swimming back to Furthur as the rest of us ride back in the dink. Back on the boat, food is on all our minds and we hit the left overs of Daphne’s amazing pasta dish and add a few treats. No sooner is off for a muddy dream filled nap.